In a world filled with lactose beers and pastry stouts, Lambic styles seem to be left in the dark. These spontaneous fermented Flemish beverages bring a whole new complexity and intricacy to the beer world. With its depth of farmhouse and earthy flavors, lambic is a style that will stand on its own! Lindemans Cuvee Renee is one of my personal favorites. This old gueuze is a blend of old and young lambic matured in large oak barrels called fouders. It is then bottled in champagne bottles where the second fermentation takes place and where you get that extra funk! After 6 months or so, the gueuze obtains a golden color and is slightly carbonated and tart. You get some slight notes of sherry on this as well. Nice thing about lambics, gueuzes especially, is that the complexity is ever changing. You can have this bottle 20 years from now and it will mature into something even better in some cases!
If straight forward barnyard funk isn’t your thing, you can always try dabbling in some of the fruited lambic styles! Tilquin’s Oude Myrtille Sauvage is a blueberry maniacs dream! This spontaneous fermentation beer was obtained from the fermentation of frozen wild blueberries in young lambics, blended with 1,2, and 3 years lambic to reach a final concentration of fruits of 200 grams of fruit per liter! With this beer you still get the sought after “funk” of a lambic but the berry sweetness mutes some of that. Still complex and quite approachable for those who are not entirely familiar with the style! Though Lambics are predominantly made in the Pajottenland region of Belgium southwest of Brussels and in Brussels itself, most recently the style has made its way state side! With blenderys popping up all over the country like Allagash, Jester King, Floodland, and of course our hometown friends Referend, you can get the taste of Belgium with an American twist.
Referend is arguably one of the best state side blenderies that practice all the Belgium techniques to produce spontaneous fermentation beer styles. They are one of the few blenderies or breweries that still practice coolship brewing. Coolship is a type of brewing vessel traditionally used in the production of beer. It is a broad, open-top, flat vessel in which wort cools. The high surface-to-mass ratio allows for more efficient cooling and added flavor from the surrounding air. Referend has be an absolute power house nailing every style and flavor profile they put out. It’s a beautiful thing that we were able to continue to carry a ton of Referend at our store and better yet gained an awesome friendship with owners James and Melissa.
AMLAM is here to stay but they always pay homage to the godfathers of funky fruited brews over in Pajottenland. So grab a glass, pop a cork, and go for an incredible ride of complexity and flavor profiles that you will not normally see in any other beer!
—Mike Ziegler, Beer Manager